This blog is the place to exchange ideas, news, issues and thoughts about diversity and multiculturalism in museums. The Multicultural Initiatives Committee is a Texas Association of Museums Affinity Group.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Become a Member of the MIC

MIC is the place to exchange ideas, news and thoughts about diversity in museums. Because it is an issue that impacts all of us, everyone is welcome in our committee!

In order to achive our purpose, we need your support. Please Join the Multicultural Initiatves Commitee. By becoming a member, you are supporting our efforts to promote all aspects of diversity in museums!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Job Opportunity in South Texas

Do you have heritage tourism-related experience? Are you interested in a challenging, yet extremely rewarding job in South Texas helping tell the real stories of the Texas Tropical Trail Region? If so then consider applying for the Tropical Trail Regional Coordinator position.

Salary is $30,000-$33,000 annually depending upon experience and the coordinator is an employee of the Texas Tropical Trail Region Board of Directors. Application deadline is January 5, 2009 or until filled.

For additional information, including how and where to apply, go here.

And please feel free to pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Diversity Internships in Historic Preservation

Diversity Internships in Historic Preservation

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) seeks to increase the diversity of professionals working in historic preservation, acknowledge the variety of cultures that enrich Texas’ heritage and engage a wider range of organizations and communities in supporting efforts to protect and preserve the history of our state. The THC Preservation Fellows Program was created to build interest in and awareness of historic preservation, specifically among students from underrepresented ethnic groups. This initiative targets undergraduate and graduate students to encourage their interest in pursuing fields of study in history, preservation, architecture, landscape architecture, archeology, downtown revitalization and heritage tourism. Preservation Fellows receive a $5,000 stipend for eight weeks of employment (40-hour week) under the supervision of the THC, either at its headquarters in Austin or “in the field” with an associated preservation organization such as a Main Street program, a heritage tourism program, a history museum or a historical association.

· U.S. citizens of African, Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Native American/Hawaiian/Alaskan heritage
· Sophomore level or above
· Attending a college, university, junior college or community college in Texas, or a Texas resident attending school out-of-state
· Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 system (or comparable GPA)
· Prior recipients are ineligible

This year we especially welcome applications from:

o Students of landscape architecture
o Students from the following counties in East Texas: Angelina, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Cherokee, Trinity or Tyler;
o Students who attend Stephen F. Austin State University or Angelina College.

Deadline: Applications must be postmarked by December 31, 2008.

To download application, please go to the Texas Historical Commission site.

Monday, 4 August 2008

What direction should the MIC take?

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Ruth Ann Rugg, the new director of the Texas Association of Museums (TAM). Ruth Ann set up the meeting so that she could get a better grasp of the MIC's purpose and goals. She also wanted to find out how else TAM could support the MIC. We discussed the origins of the MIC, which go back to the 1990s, when a group of TAM members wrote the Action Plan. Then I told Ruth Ann that ten years later, TAM wanted to review if anything had changed in those ten years. After an unofficial survey and talking to other museum professionals, we came to the conclusion that sadly, museums still lacked diversity in their staff, boards, exhibits, interpretations and audience. Many of the issues remained relevant ten years later. That is why in 2005, the MIC became an official affinity group.

Ruth Ann asked some interesting questions that I want to share with you: What is our role within the museum community? How can we keep on being relevant in the ever changing role of museums? Is the name "multicultural" really what we are about, or do we really mean diversity?

Those of us who have worked in this committee know that we don't want to be viewed as a group of and for ethnic minorities alone. Our role is much, much larger than that. But how do we get that message across? And how do we get all museums involved? Because really, this topic impacts every single museum and staff person.

Please feel free to share your comments. This is a good time to reflect on where the MIC has been and where we need to go.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Expanding Informal Science for Latinos

Please excuse this cross-posting from Museum-Ed:

NEW DATES: March 26-29, 2009

Acceso Hispano/Self-Reliance Foundation is organizing a conference that has the overarching goal of laying the groundwork for the development of strategic partnerships for involving Latino audiences in informal science learning, led by informal science institutions nationwide. The conference, originally scheduled for 2008, will be held in Albuquerque, NM, March 26-29, 2009. (Funding for the conference has been formally awarded by the National Science Foundation.)

The conference will bring 100+ representatives from informal science institutions and science research organizations together with Hispanic organizations, media, and educational projects to review current ISE resources, identify needs and gaps, learn about best practices in designing culturally effective programs and resources, and develop new strategies and resources to enrich the informal science learning environment for Latinos.

Conference sessions will include presentations by ISE researchers and program evaluators, experienced program developers, and Hispanic media and marketing experts, which will provide a solid foundation for planning workshops focused around strategic issues identified by conference participants. The conference will include: (1) an interactive blog preceding the conference that will begin discussions on conference issues; (2) Print resource materials distributed at the conference, which will include abstracts of research presented, descriptions of model programs, a directory and contact information for conference presenters and participants, and other useful resources; (3) a status report from the conference including conference proceedings, recommendations, and action plans; and (4) Web-based information and resources, presented in a wiki that will enable the resource base to grow. The conference builds on project partnerships Acceso Hispano has developed through its NSF-funded Celebra la Ciencia and ConCiencia/Hispanic Science Newswire projects, as well as the strong interest of additional organizations contacted about the conference.

Further information, including scholarship applications, can be found at: Registration will be available soon.

My apologies for any inconvenience caused by the rescheduling. Please contact me directly if you need any additional information.

Robert L. Russell, Ph.D.
Science Advisor, Self-Reliance Foundation
Project Director, Celebra la Ciencia & ConCiencia/Hispanic Science Newswire
(202) 360-4117 (office) (202) 997-5539 (cell)

1126 16th St. NW, Suite 350
Washington, DC 20036

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Please Support our Efforts

To become a member of the MIC, please fill out the membership form above and return it to our treasurer with your $10 dues. You can download the form by clicking on the Scribd button on the top, left. Your contribution will directly impact future workshops, sessions, and other programs and resources that the MIC provides. Our hope is to sponsor a workshop at the 2010 Texas Association of Museums annual meeting. In addition, your dues will enable the MIC to sponsor some dynamic speakers in the future. If you have other ideas of how you would like to see your dues spent for the good of the museum community and they public the serve, please feel free to leave your comments here.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Two Nations, Two Museums, One Goal...

This is a perfect example of how museums can bring about education, understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures. Way to go El Paso Museum of Art and Museo de Arte Ciudad Juarez!

Art Binational -2008- Binacional de Arte the first binational juried exhibition:

"The purpose of this juried exhibition is to bring together artists and their art from a defined circular region along the US – Mexico Border with El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in the center, Tucson, Arizona in the west, Santa Fe, New Mexico in the north, Midland/Odessa, Texas in the east, and Chihuahua City in the south. The museums want to examine what ideas, styles, and themes are being shared, and to identify if there is, indeed, a unique style emerging from this area."

Monday, 2 June 2008

Texas Historical Commission to Address Gaps in State History

This is a great opportunity to bring long overdue attention to the largely untold history of some of the minority communities of our state.

Over the next several weeks, the Texas Historical Commission will accept nominations for qualified topics for the historic marker application fund. Through this fund, the THC can address under told or untold aspect of Texas history by

· Paying for a marker for an underrepresented topic which meets documentation requirements, when financial assistance is not available
· Sharing the cost of a marker with County Historical Commission or other interested party
· Conducting a site visit to research and document a qualified historic property or topic
· Hiring a professional historian to complete local research for one site or a thematic study

This program is meant to address gaps in the interpretation of Texas history!

If you have any suggestions for a place that deserves a state marker, please email Bob Brinkman with the information you have. The more documentation on the site that you can provide, the better. If you would like to discuss this program before you email the THC, please feel free to email me.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Museum Exhibit Explores Race

I encourage everybody to visit the Science Museum of Minnesota's exhibit entitled, "Race: Are We So Different." It is a bold exhibit that tackles the concept of race. As their site explains, the exhibit explores three themes: the everyday experience of race, the contemporary science that is challenging common ideas about race, and the history of this idea in the United States. The website contains information for educators and families. The University of Washington's Museology Program recently announced that this exhibit is the winner of its first Transforming Museums Award. After looking at the exhibit's website, it is easy to see why they deserve this award.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Multicultural Diversity 101: Train the Trainer Course

Here is a couse that may be of interest to some:

May 28-30, 2008
In 2.5 days, learn to lead and facilitate the 8-hour course, "Multicultural Diversity 101"
Attendees may qualify to be certified instructors of MCD 101.
Certified graduates are authorized to deliver MCD 101 in their organizations.

Multicultural Diversity 101 was designed by intercultural specialists.

Who should attend?

  • Organizations needing internal diversity resource people.
  • Organizations needing to update or upgrade diversity training.
  • People who need to learn the foundations of diversity.
  • People who want to improve their job skills and market opportunities.
  • Customized for Diversity issues in North Texas.


  • Cost-effective, internal diversity trainers and materials.

  • Learn "how to" cultural competencies; move beyond awareness & political correctness.

  • Course can be delivered in segments.

  • MCD 101 has been used by leading companies.

Produced by Cross Culture Communications' highly qualified faculty, who have taught cross-cultural and diversity foundations since 1994.

To Register, call 214-827-8632 or email us. Location TBA. Some qualifications necessary.

Cost: $1,000 per person corporate; $500 for non-profits.

Group rates available subject to successful completion of the course, certification allows trainer to facilitate MCD 101 internally. Participant materials are licensed and cost $50 per person. Volume discounts available.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Achieving Diversity Is Not Just a New American Trend!

Some people believe that this whole talk of diverisitymay be a new buzz in the American business and public sectors. Most of us have heard enough about affirmative action and diversity initiatives in our organizations, and we may even roll our eyes at the idea of "cultural competency" training and the like.

However, this is not just an American issue. It is not just a political issue. And most certainly is not just a "trendy" issue. It is a global issue that has been around for a very long time. To illustrate, the International Committee of Museums (ICOM) initiative that had its roots back to 1972 show how museums play a role in the international community in achieving equality, inclusion and democracy. I am quoting just a few of the statements from thier website. To read the entire document, follow the link above:

  • Increasing recognition that Cultural diversity is a historical and social reality at the local, regional, national and global levels and that museums should reflect the cultural diversity of the clientele constituencies. The cultural diversity of different nations is a rich inheritance of humanity that will endure as the central pillar for peace, harmony and cultural sustainability of the world. The promotion of this global inheritance through the processes of cultural pluralism is the responsibility of all societies. There is a fundamental need to acknowledge that all cultures and their manifestations are equally valid in a culturally democratic world.

  • Within this context museums in different parts of the world are exploring ways of relating to community cultural and economic development, the sense of place, identity and self-esteem of different people. Exploration of inclusive museology which has the capacity to address different contextual frameworks of cultural diversity including a multiplicity of interactions and cultural borders. These borders include race, ethnicity, colour, gender, class, age, physical ability, regions, location, language, faith, creed, economic status, sexual preference and so on.

  • Increasing awareness about the cultural needs of minorities, indigenous populations and 'societies in transition' who have experienced disempowerment through displacement, dispossession and the ravages of war. The particular concerns of minorities whose cultural self-esteem and hence well-being is at risk through a process of overt or covert marginalisation in mainstream societies are being addressed by museums in different parts of the world. There is an increasing demand to address the post-colonial position of transplanted populations, such as the descendants of slave trades and indentured labour practices, and their disadvantaged inheritance due to the practices of colonialism and imperialism through the promotion of cultural exchanges between root and diasporic cultures. The international museum community is also playing an active role in the reconstruction and development of institutions ravaged by recent developments in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.

Friday, 18 April 2008

What is your definition of diversity?

I was fortunate enough to take part in a fascinating conference call yesterday outlining an incredible survey of people who visit outdoor museums completed by Reach Advisors (follow their blog here for more information). I was struck not only by the depth and breadth of responses, but also by the insight they were able to gather.

Although there were many interesting conclusions from the research, a couple really "hit home" with the issue of diversity/multiculturalism: 1) 97% of the survey respondents were white/caucasian, and 2) young mothers voiced entirely different "needs" from the museum than older males.

So what is YOUR definition of diversity? Do we sometimes get stuck thinking about multiculturalism as merely being about race and ethnicity? Can we recognize that diversity actually encompasses the whole microcosm of differences that make us each unique?

Clearly the issue of diversity extends beyond color lines. The white moms mentioned above would not benefit from the same educational approach that the white men would, even though they are both white. Why? Because they are different "cultures." When we factor in life circumstances (sexual orientation, geography, age, socioeconomic status, religion), all of a sudden multiculturalism takes on many new facets! Not only are we black, white, hispanic, native american, etc....all of a sudden we are also young, old, gay, straight, citified, country bumpkins, Protestants, Jews, Catholics, ice cream get the picture.

So how are we to serve each and every one of these "segments" of society? Does this mean that we shouldn't take steps to reach individual audiences?

I don't entirely have the answer to this question. I know that I want EVERYONE'S history to be represented. I also know that I want the gay hispanic mother to be just as comfortable here as the white older man. I know that having bilingual (english/spanish) labels are important...but I also know that some concepts transcend language barriers.

And I know recognizing that each patron is an individual with his/her own set of values, interests, and motivation is a start.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

"What Was Once a Dream Is Now a Reality"

For Immediate Release: April 10, 2008

Contact: Steve Haro, 202.225.6235, 202.225.8355 (mobile) or
& Greg Buss, 213.483.1425 or


WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Senate today took up and passed S. 2739, the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008. Contained within that bill was the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Museum of American Latino Act (H.R. 512/S.500), legislation which passed in the House of Representatives February 6, 2007. The bill now come back to the House for a procedural vote and then will head to the White House for President Bush's signature.

"The last few months have witnessed an incredible level of momentum and support for this endeavor," Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), H.R. 512's author, said. "What was once a dream is now a reality. It is my hope that we can get this to the president in short order so that we can immediately form the commission and subsequently move forward to complete our American cultural mosaic."

"I believe we must celebrate the diversity of our nation, and Latinos have been a significant part of American history. They have contributed to the arts, business, and served in our nation's military with distinction," Senator Salazar, S. 500's author, said. "This bill would take the first step in commemorating the rich contributions of the Latino community to American life. The end result will be a more enhanced experience for the 20 million visitors that come to our nation's capital to learn the full history of America."

H.R. 512 sets up a 23 member commission charged with producing three things: one, a national conference to bring stakeholders, experts, policymakers and other interested parties together to discuss the museum's viability; two, a fundraising plan to create an extensive public-private partnership; and three, a report to Congress detailing a recommended plan of action on how to move forward with taking the museum from concept to reality. All of this will happen within 24 months of H.R. 512 being signed into law.

"Today's vote would never have occurred were it not for a bipartisan group of champions who all agreed that this was a worthwhile effort," Rep. Becerra said. "To the 24 bipartisan cosponsors of S.500, the Senate version of H.R. 512: thank you for support and your fortitude. To Senators Harry Reid, Jeff Bingaman, Mel Martinez and Pete Dominici: thank you for the 11th hour advocacy that ensured this bill's passage.

"Leaders, corporations, and several great non-profit groups have done tremendous work to educate our congressional leaders and the public about this effort and deserve both recognition and thanks. Some of these groups include the Museum of the American Latino Advisory Board Committee, the Central American Resource Center, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, the Hispanic Education Coalition, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund, the Mexican Heritage Corporation, the National Council of La Raza, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the Southwest Voter Registration & Education Project, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the William C. Velasquez Institute, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

"And most importantly, to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Senators Ken Salazar of Colorado and Bob Menendez of New Jersey: this effort would be nowhere if not for your passion and your dogged drive to see to it that this bill became law in this congress."

Click here to learn more about H.R. 512.


About The Commission
Commission to Study the Feasibility of a

National Latino Museum (H.R. 2134)

The Commission would be comprised of 23 members appointed as follows:
· 7 members appointed by the President;
· 3 voting and 1 non-voting members appointed by the Speaker;
· 3 voting and 1 non-voting members appointed by the House Minority Leader;
· 3 voting and 1 non-voting appointed by the Senate Majority Leader; and
· 3 voting and 1 non-voting appointed by the Senate Minority Leader.

The Commission will have 18 months to produce:
· A national conference within 9 months of being formed;
· A fundraising plan
· A report that will determine the following issues:

The availability and cost of collections to be acquired and housed in the Museum.
The impact of the Museum on regional Hispanic-and Latino-related museums.
Possible Locations for Museum in Washington, D.C. and its environs, to be considered in consultation with the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission on Fine Arts
Whether the Museum should be located within the Smithsonian Institution.
The governance and organizational structure from which the Museum should operate.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Latino Museum Studies Program

This is a great opportunity for up and coming Latino museum professionals!

The Latino Museum Studies Program is organized by the Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC). It was established in 1994 to increase the representation, documentation, knowledge and interpretation of Latino art, culture, and history. The program includes a two-week seminar designed to provide participants with the tools to enhance their leadership, research, and creative skills through a series of lectures, workshops and practical experiences at the Smithsonian Institution, as well as other research facilities within the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Each year fifteen mid-career museum professionals and graduate students are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants. Participation is free and includes the cost of round-trip travel to Washington, D.C. and housing accommodations for the duration of the four-week program.

Crossing Borders; Telling Lives: Fresh Ways to Create Dialog about Immigration in a Museum Context

The title of this blog entry comes from a session I attended last week at the TAM Annual Meeting in Galveston. I went both because I was interested in the topic, and because I had heard Linda Ho Peche speak at the Texas Association of Museum Educator's workshop in January. Just as when I had heard her before, she was fantastic.

I was really struck, however, by Kristine Navarro's passionate commentary on her research with survivors from the Bracero Program. Navarro is the Director of the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas--El Paso. In conjunction with George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, the National Museum of American History, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Brown University, the Institute of Oral History has launched the Bracero Oral History Project to conduct interviews with former braceros. To date they have collected hundreds of interviews as well as photographs and historical material documenting the history of the Bracero Program.

I was speechless, not only because I had never heard of braceros, but also because of the sad stories surrounding this program. Like so many historical happenings, the truth has been buried. Fortunately, historians like Ms. Navarro work tirelessly to make sure that these stories see the light of day--and that these people's histories are not forgotten.

I know that I won't soon forget the braceros.

Other links of interest:
Public Law 45 of 1943
Case Study from American University
Handbook of Texas Online
Photos from California
Bracero Timeline

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Forgotten History

Recently, there has been news about the lack of diversity in the Texas public school curriculum. To me, this implies that many of our Texas children may never get the chance to learn about their own identity and culture. They will never swell with pride when they read the literature of their ancestors, or hear about the historical figures that looked just like them and played a role in building this great state.

We can view this as a golden opportunity for museums. Museums now have the responsibility of enlightening these children where formal education doesn't. We can show them that their ancestors and themselves are indeed part of the American experience.

Recently IMLS launched and effort to preserve America's diverse heritage.

This project highlights the fact that museums preserve more than priceless works of art or artifacts related to well-known historical figures. While these are indeed important, America's heritage consists of collections stored in hundreds and hundreds of local museums. Our children and communities will be much for the better if these artifacts - whether they be family photographs, scrapbooks, quilts, letters, furniture- are preserved, and perhaps more importantly, exhibited and interpreted. Please look through the link above and see how your museum may benefit from this initiative.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Another Conference Opportunity You Shouldn't Miss!

Here is a conference that focuses on everything that we are concerned with. It touts itself as the nation's leading conference on business initiatives in Diversity and Multiculturalism. Best of all, it is at Walt Disney World!

Monday, 17 March 2008

Wanna Hear What We are All About? Join Us for Breakfast!

The MIC meets formally once a year. This year's meeting will be held on Thursday, March 27th during the TAM annual meeting in Galveston. This is a rather informal group, and everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas. If you are the quiet type, you can just come and listen! Best of all, it is all done over a delicious breakfast. You do not need to be a member of the MIC, nor do you have to purchase the breakfast. However, if you would like to sign up for the food, you can do it when you register for the conference. Here is a link to more info,

Friday, 14 March 2008

History through the Eyes of All

As a Mexican woman, working in a living history museum that interprets nineteenth century Texas life, I am very conscious of interpreting history as accurately and inclusively as possible. Because we are all of one ethnicity and culture or another, we all tend to focus on OUR ancestors and their experiences. This makes it daunting- if not impossible- to interpret history without bias. Yet it is a museum's responsibility, as repositories of the public memory and trust, to do this as best as we can.

The solution? Have input from diverse staff, board and community members. Simple, right? Absolutely not. This continues to be very challenging because by and large, minority museum staff and board members are extremely underrepresented. Some informal surveys have confirmed this, and the MIC hopes to do another museums demographics survey this year.

As a result of this under representation in museum staff and board members, some people will not find their history in museums - or worse they may find a stereotype of their culture! But I believe that as more museums strive to be as inclusive as possible and make themselves available as a safe place for dialogue and debate, new audiences will visit museums. From these audiences, many future museum professionals can emerge. And thus, the cycle can finally be broken!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Be Sure to Attend the Following Sessions while at the TAM meeting in Galveston!

Wednesday 8:45 – 10:00 am
Marketing to Spanish Speaking Audiences
This is a topic that will affect every museum in Texas. In less than ten years the Texas Commerce Department predicts more than 50% of Texans will speak Spanish as their primary language. At the same time Texas is blessed with increasing tourism from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries. This program will address cultural misconceptions and stereotypes, as well as the issues, challenges and opportunities for Texas museums and what they can do to attract and provide meaningful exhibitions and programs for these expanding audiences.

Wednesday 10:30 – 11:45 am
Making Your Message Clear: Multilingual Signage
In our culturally diverse world, it is important to reach every person who comes through our museums' doors. This person may be a tourist from the other side of the world, or a local resident who speaks another language. In order to reach this audience, museum signage and interpretation may need to be in a language other than English. When is it necessary to translate signage? What should be translated? How do you create attractive and effective multilingual signage? How do you ensure that the translation is correct? This session will address these questions and any others you may have about making your museum truly multicultural!

Wednesday 3:45 – 5:00
Inventive Programs to Reach At-Risk Youth
Is your museum interested in using its resources to help at-risk youth make positive lifestyle choices and develop into productive citizens? Join us as we share methods and strategies that enable youth to communicate feelings, share life stories, explore creativity, express imagination, and discover latent talent within, using art, photography, writing, history and drama. Walk away with fresh new ideas to help you develop programs to reach out to this underserved yet critically important population of youth.

Wednesday 3:45 – 5:00
The National Scene: A Conversation with the Directors of IMLS and AAM
Following their general session talks, the heads of IMLS and AMM will sit down and discuss the major issues and challenges facing the U.S. museum field. Moderated by AAM Board member Howard Taylor, this informal discussion will give insight into the national initiatives and trends that affect our museums. It is also your opportunity to let our national leaders know what is happening in your community and the issues that are important to you. Come prepared to engage in this unique conversation with two important museum leaders who are both attending the TAM meeting for the first time.

Thursday 8:45 – 10:00
Does Your Board Reflect the Community You Serve? – Sadly, cancelled.

Thursday 3:00 – 4:15
Crossing Borders; Telling Lives: Fresh Ways to Create Dialog about Immigration in a Museum Context
In the 19th century, Galveston was known as "The Ellis Island of the West." Today, Texas cities still rank in the top ten for immigrant gateways into our nation. Throughout the state, museums and cultural institutions are searching for creative ways to engage their audiences around important issues of immigration--both in the past and present day—by providing a safe place for dialog, discussion, debate and sharing stories. Panelists will describe innovative projects at the Institute of Oral History in El Paso, the Galveston Historical Foundation, and the Texas State History Museum, then ask audience members to share concerns and approaches from their own museums.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Learn More About Us at our TAM booth!

At the TAM meeting, the MIC will have a booth in the exhibit hall. You can pick up information about what we are, what we offer, and what we want to accomplish. Please take a few minutes of your time to drop by our table during your breaks! If you want to volunteer to staff the booth, please email me at

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Congratulations to Scholarship Recipients!

The following people have received Multicultural Initiatives Scholarships to attend the TAM annual meeting in Galveston:

Angelia Hill, Museum Assistant, Red River Historical Museum, Sherman
Sharron Wilkins Conrad, Curator of Education, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Dallas
Deborah F. Cowman, Director, Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History,
Bryan Veronica Martinez, Education Coordinator, Victoria Regional Museum Association, Victoria

I want to commend the TAM staff and council for their commitment to this scholarship program that has been around for over a decade. Thanks to it, many young, minority professionals (me included) have been able to attend the TAM annual meeting at no or little cost to their respective museums. This is definitely a step in the right direction to diversifying museum staff across the state.

So make sure to look for these up and coming professionals at the annual meeting and make them feel welcome!

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

What is our purpose?

The purpose of the MIC was adopted when they bylaws were approved:

"To encourage and promote multiculturalism and diversity in museums’ audiences, staff, volunteers, collaborators, boards, and other persons with an interest in museums. The MIC will provide a forum for the education, information exchange and development, and training of member museums, their staff, trustees, and volunteers, and it will serve as a liaison with the Texas Association of Museums."

I believe that this statement says it all. We are here to promote diversity in ALL aspects of the museum world. And I believe it is all related. Once our boards and staff are more diverse, exhibits and interpretation will reflect this, which will lead to more diverse audiences which will in turn develop into future staff members!

Ivette Ray
MIC Chair

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Welcome to the Texas Association of Museums Multicultural Initiatives Blog!

Hello everyone! This space has been created as a place where we can share our thoughts and ideas on the state of diversity in Texas museums. During the last three years that the MIC has been an official affinity group of the Texas Association of Museums, we have made great strides!

This last year we set out to accomplish the following:

1)Review the Action Plan - This has been done by the Action Plan Subcommittee (special thanks to those who worked on it). Now comes the hard part, which is to put the Plan to Action. For those of you who have not seen it, here is a link. If any of you have additional comments, please share them with us!

2)Propose sessions for the Texas Association of Museums annual meeting - There will be some great sessions this year on everything from board diversity to multilingual signage! If you have not registered, it is not too late. Here is a link to the annual meeting program

3)Get a website and improve communications - We hope that this blog serves that purpose. Please share it with others, and don't be afraid to leave your comments!

4)Create and conduct a survey of Texas museums - While we have not done this yet, it is a project that is certainly in the front burner and will hopefully happen this year.

Some of our other goals include bringing in speakers and sponsoring workshops. We are one step closer to accomplishing this! Of course, our ultimate goal is to bring more diversity to Texas museums.

Please feel free to add your own comments and ideas on how we can make this space better. If you would like to become a blog author on this page, let me know.

And don't forget to subsrcibe to this blog so that you know when there is a new entry!

Hope to hear from many of you soon.

Ivette Ray
MIC Chair